You’ve worked hard to get an appointment with the prospect. Now you’re poised to make the sale.
All you have to do is give a convincing sales presentation and you’re sure you’ll close the deal.
It’s all up to you. How do you make sure your sales presentation will hit the mark?
Here are five sins that regularly undermine presentations to customers:
- No clear point. The prospect leaves the presentation wondering what it was all about.
- No prospect benefit. The presentation fails to show how the prospect can benefit from the information presented.
- No clear flow. The sequence of ideas is so confusing that it leaves the prospect feeling left behind, unable to follow.
- Too detailed. When too many facts are presented, the main point gets obscured.
- Too long. The prospect loses focus and gets bored before the presentation is over.
When sales presentations lose focus
According to a survey by Prime Resources Group, salespeople spend 80% of their time in presentations describing their exceptional company, recommended solutions and promises about the positive future prospects will enjoy if they buy now.
There are two reasons why prospects may not buy after listening to this type of presentation:
- They don’t believe they have a problem, so they don’t have an incentive to change, and
- They know they have a problem and want to take action, but they don’t have confidence in the proposed solution.
Prospects will almost always have a less-than-complete grasp of their situation or the problem they should be solving. As a result, it’s a good idea to ask yourself these two questions before you attempt to offer solutions:
- Do your prospects know the true cost of the absence of the solutions you sell? and
- Do they understand their risks if they fail to buy the solution you’re selling?
You can’t count on prospects to recognize, on their own, the value you bring to the table, to calculate what it’s worth or accurately determine if they should pay its price.
Defining value in the presentation
When a value translation is done properly, prospects understand how your product or service relates to their needs. You should be able to deliver value on three levels during your presentation:
- Product level. You talk with prospects about features, benefits and quality.
- Process level. You talk about how your product or service enhances the prospect’s business processes.
- Performance level. You discuss the impact of your product or service on the prospect’s business results.
The importance of qualifying prospects
It happens all the time. A salesperson’s closing rate needs improvement, so he or she spends weeks brushing up on presentation skills, only to achieve the same results as before.
That’s because the problem has nothing to do with closing. It has everything to do with not qualifying prospects. The result is a high amount of presentations scheduled with people who have no need for your product or service or can’t make buying decisions.
Here are qualifying questions that will get you in front of the right people:
- What needs does the prospect have that you can help meet? It’s essential to qualify early on whether the need for your product or service exists.
- When is the prospect looking to make a buying decision? You can save a lot of time and follow-up by creating a timeline for closing the sale.
- Who will make the final decision? In many cases, the final decision may not be made by the prospect you’re dealing with. By knowing who makes the final decision, you can start to probe for more information about what factors influence that persons’ decision.
Questions to ask during the presentation
Asking good questions is an essential element of any presentation. Solid questions let you find out whether a given company is an appropriate account match for your company.
Effective questioning also establishes the rapport that makes fluid communication possible. Sales are usually lost because of a failure to uncover enough information from the customer.
Good questions also help your credibility by showing customers that you’re interested in their needs, not just in pushing your product or service. They also help you sustain your customers’ interest, stimulate their thinking, and modify their concept of you and what you’re selling.
Here are some guidelines for accomplishing all of this:
- Focus your questions. The more specific your questioning, the more it’ll be clear to the prospect that you have done your homework. Vague, wandering discussions around the topic hinder your credibility. Make sure you understand precisely what it is you’re asking for.
- Listen intently. Demonstrate to the prospect that you’re actively listening, with the appropriate body language and supportive response. Intent listening shows that you’re concerned with your prospects’ needs. Showing a real interest in what prospects are saying is one of the most effective methods for getting them to listen to you. Remember, customers deserve and expect your full attention.
- Avoid telling prospects what they can and can’t, or shouldn’t do. Focus on what you can do to serve them better. Avoid setting restrictions on their behavior.
- Try to avoid sounding like a know-it-all. Yes, you should know more about your product or service than the prospect, but prospects shouldn’t feel that way. Credibility is never established by making the customer feel like he or she is inadequate. It’s established by giving clear, comprehensive answers at the prospect’s level of understanding.
- Uncover all of the necessary information before providing your solutions. Don’t prematurely provide answers before you have enough information. What you may define as being the need may be completely different from what the customer perceives. Try to dig deeper to find all the relevant information.
- Apply weight to each need. Ask the customer to verbalize how much weight each need will carry in the overall decision-making process. What customers feel is a major buying issue may appear different to them if they put the need into words. The overall importance of a certain need may diminish when it’s compared to other issues relating to the purchase.
- Gain agreement after presenting one solution before going on to the next. Don’t provide solution after solution without gaining agreement on each solution presented. Failing to ask for agreement after each solution is proposed may result in significant roadblocks: like not knowing which solution was unacceptable and why.